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University of Utah physical science researchers are among the most prolific and respected in the country, judging by their sheer output of scientific papers and the number of times their reports are quoted by other experts.

According to a ranking by the Institute for Scientific Information, the U. is 17th among American universities in such articles published and cited in other scientific reports. To count, the citation had to be in a scientific paper from an institution that grants doctorates.The physical sciences faculty wrote 1,156 papers in a three-year period and their studies were quoted 3,269 times. "Citation of a researcher's papers by other scientists in their own work is regarded as a major indicator of quality," said James C. Bapis of the U.'s news service.

He said Utah was ranked with the "Goliaths" of science, out-achieving Columbia and Cornell, the University of California at San Diego, and the universities of Colorado, Oregon and Arizona.

Papers counted if they were published in the fields of chemistry, physics, geoscience, mathematics and engineering.

However, a probable anomaly pops to mind that might have skewed the bean-counting: the cold fusion studies by U. researchers B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. The P&F papers were quoted frequently, sometimes sarcastically, and usually by hostile physicists.